The numbers of thefts from vehicles has spikes in recent weeks in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country.—Image: RCMP

The numbers of thefts from vehicles has spikes in recent weeks in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country.—Image: RCMP

Cops report explosion in number of thefts from vehicles in Central Okanagan

In just the first 2 1/2 weeks of 2018, the number has nearly tripled in Kelowna and West Kelowna

West Kelowna RCMP says a man and woman were arrested early Thursday morning in West Kelowna and now face potential property crime-related, charges in the wake of a significant spike in thefts from motor vehicles throughout the Central Okanagan in the first few weeks of 2018.

During the first two and a half weeks of January, compared to the same period in 2017, RCMP throughout the region say they have seen a staggering increase in the amount of thefts from motor vehicles reported in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country.

The vast majority of the reports involve vehicles left unlocked with valuables inside, while a small portion involve damage caused to the vehicles to gain entry. In most cases, valuables were left in plain sight.

“RCMP are once again appealing for the public to always lock their vehicles and remove their valuable possessions,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, spokesman for the Kelowna regional RCMP.

“The number of completed thefts and attempted thefts being committed is alarming and has prompted increased mobile patrols in areas identified by our crime analysts as affected most by the up-tick in crime,” he said.

In the first half of January, the number of reported thefts from motor vehicles of goods valued at less than $5,000 jumped to 144 in Kelowna, compared with 56 during the same period last year, to 38 from 12 in West Kelowna, and to nine from one in Lake Country.

Earlier this week, Kelowna’s top cop, Supt. Brent Mundle, spoke about the increase in thefts from vehicles at the annual Crime Stoppers luncheon in the city.

O’Donaghey said in the case of the pair arrested in West Kelowna, they were apprehended Jan. 18 after a West Kelowna Mountie, who was conducting “proactive” patrols, stopped a suspicious silver Chevrolet Cavalier in the Shannon Lake area.

After talking to the two occupants, the officer discovered what police believe was stolen property inside the car,. The property included included credit cards and personal identification in various names, along and small electronic devices.

A 38-year-old Kelowna man and 50-year-old Peachland woman were arrested.

They each face potential charges and are expected to appear in court at a later date.

The investigation is ongoing, as police continue to try and to return the seized property to its owners.

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